Far too many coffee places (especially Starbucks and the other chains) have these pencil thin wood or plastic stirrers that do a miserable job of actually incorporating the coffee with sugar, artificial sweetener, cream or whatever else you've added. The reason is simple: these skinny pieces of wood or plastic don't have a sufficient surface area to actually move an ample amount of liquid. That surface area is key.
I end up using a plastic spoon because the skinny wood or plastic strips just don't accomplish the task. I hate to waste the plastic spoon, but there's no place at Starbucks or Corner Bakery to leave it for others to use.
Locally owned neighborhood coffee houses seem to be better at having real metal spoons available, and the spoons are meant to be used by anyone who simply needs it to stir their coffee. Since no one is eating off the spoon, no one seems to care if it has been used by someone else.